On 9th March ’19, as part of our Educational one day tour we were taken to Maldevta which is approximately 25 km from Dehradun city. The Excursion started from Shisham Boys Hostel, Forest Research Institute at 9:00 am. We were accompanied by Dr. Amit Kumar, Scientist-C, WII and Dr. Kirti Chamling (Jr. Consultant, FRIDU). We reached our destination around 10:30 am and started the excursion after Dr. Amit gave us a brief introduction about the objective of the day.
Dr. Amit suggested that we take a walk on the road by the side of the river Song which was a 3 km stretch and along the way he explained to us the Riverian vegetation including species viz. Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo and other associates. During the walk, he told us the importance of understanding the intricate relationship between plants and why they grow where they grow. He encouraged us to think and try and answer the question of how a particular plant affected its immediate surrounding and in turn the entire ecosystem. The basic concepts of how slope, aspect, temperature, etc. effects the vegetation were also explained to us. Along the way, many species were identified such as Rumex hastatus, Adhatoda vasica, Lantana camara, Pogostemon benghalensis, Woodfordia fruticosa, Mallotus philippensis.
Apart from this, the most important part of this excursion was how Dr. Amit emphasised the key role of Etymology to “better” understand each individual plant and provided us with a different prospective to see the flora of a region. Before this, we had never bothered to inquire about the origin or the history of the scientific name of flora but after the excursion, the prospective of students had changed. Finally we have understood the true meaning of the quote “We see but we don't observe” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Before ending the tour we were taught the method of measuring the distance between two objects on the field by ocular estimation and an exercise was also conducted for this. Overall, it was a fun and wholesome experience. As the day came to an end, we bit farewell to Dr Amit and thanked him for sharing with us his experience and knowledge and providing us with a new vision. This field excursion will be an everlasting memory for the students of M.Sc. Forestry.
Deepak Bhandari (M.Sc Forestry 1st year.)